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Art Criticism: The Real Deal

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 18, 2013, 3:22 PM

How many of you think of art criticism in a more or less negative way?

I read an incredible book by Terry Barrett called "Criticizing Art" for My Visual Cultures & Critical Practice class in my senior year of college. This author and the class has enlightened my view of what art criticism is and the components of it. And I'm posting this here on dA to share it with you.

This community is part of the bigger Art World, believe it or not. And every person who posts a comment on an artwork is practicing a form of art criticism. You don't have to be some snobby Art Historian from New York to be an Art Critic. Critics come from many different backgrounds- poets, musicians, historians, artists and everyday people- using what they write about to add to communicate what is "likeable" to the community. Critics are what drive the popularity of artwork- which essentially drives the interest in the communities they work in as a whole.

So here are some REAL Art World thoughts for all of you out there who are actively involved with feedback on artwork here in this community- straight from an Art Educator:

Criticism is neither denotes or connotes a negative activity.

Why give publicity to something you hate by talking about it?

The clarity of your feedback will determine who and how many people read and reflect upon it.

Criticism lends credibility- so artists in general like their work to be reviewed. The usefulness of criticism is subjective to the artist, however. Some artists could care less about what others have to say about their work.

Is criticism an angle for marketability? Absolutely! The most popular artists in this community are those who have been reviewed by the most people/ featured in the news/ guests of honor at conventions...etc.

So what is the point? The point is, If you are here leaving comments on artwork & faving, you are all officially Art Critics according to the definition by the Art World. Congratulations. Now use your capabilities to better our community- Continue to talk about the artwork you love and be as thoughtful as you can about it. What you post reflects on you as a critic to the artists you write about, and the audience that reads what you write.

Food for thought. ;)

Add a Comment:
tigerlilyv Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013   General Artist
Bravo! Agreed and very true. In art classes I have taken, the single most important part of every session was when we tacked our work on the wall for everyone to review in a civil manner. It was also the most time consuming process and sometimes would take several classes to complete.

However, that is where your learning process of the class really came in. It helped everyone to look at the work from a different angle and so much of the time, when your sitting there staring at your work hours on end, you tend to miss certain details/proportion/composition issues that others can see and help you with.

Love this journal post!
hooded-wanderer Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013  Student General Artist
This is very true Katmomma :)
Italian-Pitbull Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What I've seen more often than not is the lack of people who are actually going to give you proper feedback about something. Generally what you see floating around DA are so called "professionals" (primarily self proclaimed professionals) who tear into (primarily) younger artists, telling them about how AWFUL their work is and just being negative about the whole thing. I always tell people when giving their critique to ensure that if you do nitpick (what you're supposed to do) you need to tell a person WHY it's off/odd/wrong/confusing etc first of all and then tell them how to fix it second of all (what people tend to forget to do).

The people who generally give bad "critique" also get offended when you tell them that their input was negative/derogatory and not helpful in any way at all. If an artist of any kind or "professional" of any kind cannot give proper feedback and becomes offended when told they didn't give proper feedback, users should take caution that these people are likely going to be trolls and if any abusive nature proceeds after the first comment or two, time to block 'em!

Now, to find people who WILL give you good feedback is very far and few in between. That's the sad part of the community. Typically those who comment go OH HOW CUTE or some other form of a non-helpful (yet positive) response. <- Which is great when you're not actually ASKING for feedback XD

In short: REDLINES, they go so much faster and are more efficient. (for things that can't be redlined, weeeellllll yeah- you're kind of out of luck then XD)
Sogaroth Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this topic and would have to agree with what Remnant said: regardless if the criticism is positive, negative or just constructive (as it should be), the resounding factor is that someone took the time to look and speak on your work.
"You're the worst pirate I've ever heard of."
"Ah, but you have heard of me." -Jack Sparrow

You get the idea.
RemnantWolf Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Absolutely true. I tend to aim for growing or lesser known, but somewhat developed artists with my critiques. I like to work with people who will actually think on what I have to say, and hopefully improve from my observations.

I like to reward hard work with comments that encourage, as well as give info as to what people are doing well and what could be improved.

One last thing to remember for those who are newer to dA, the internet, or creating art. Even if the critique is negative, the comment means that they not only noticed your art, but felt it worth the time to talk about. So next time you get a "Bad lighting", "Fix anatomy", or "Wonky perspective" remember: something about the image made them care enough to stop and want to help you get better.
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